Hey! I've moved to DC and survived one exhausting week of moving, work, apartment organizing and, most importantly, exploring the zoo every day. I thought I would post a overview of what I found from my apartment search for the sake of... just recording stuff. Maybe someone will find this useful in the next couple of months.
DC housing review for renting (please note that unless otherwise stated, 1 beds here are generally tiny)
- My search was mostly in NW DC because I wanted to be in the city and near the 'happening' stuff (single -- need to meet the boys!) and feel safe
In terms of what I found in the neighborhoods I looked at
Glover Park was cheap ($1400 all incl for a large 1 bed), less accessible by metro but had a nice homey feel, with restaurants and a whole foods nearby. You might want a car for this hood but KatieSSS, above, would probably disagree
Adams Morgan - There were a couple of blocks that seemed a bit loud but the surrounding areas were nice, pretty expensive here (1800 for 1 bed, 1500 for studios) although I did find a 2000 sqft 2 bed for $2400 (but didn't have a roommate lined up the sign the lease with... I was pretty bummed I couldn't take it)
Woodley/Cleveland: Nice, calm area, (kind of like the UWS in NYC), on red metro line, family friendly, lots of trees and green stuff but (inexpensive) groceries are a bit far away. I was able to find a large 1 bed (1000 sqft) for 1900, a smaller 1 bed for 1800
Mount Pleasant: Seemed like a interesting area, a little funkier. Found a 1 bed for 1600$.
DuPont Circle - Nice neighborhood, lots happening here, friendly, walkable, groceries. Studios run around 1600$.
U street Lots of restaurants and seems to be hip. Didn't spend much time here but heard that 1 beds were going for 2000$.
There are some good deals on english basement apartments. I didn't choose one because I only had a few days to apt hunt and the ones I saw were dark and ramshackle and still pretty expensive. However, I've seen very beautiful ones pop on CL every now and then. The ones farther from metro lines tend to be cheaper.
Apt hunting here was a pain. I thought I could find one in 2 days but ended up staying for 4. I was also lucky that I had friends who networked for me. I looked at things I found on Craiglist but after a couple of days, changed my strategy to walking around neighborhoods I liked and walking in where I saw "Now Leasing" signs. That was how I got the apartment I'm in now. Sometimes the apartments will be running deals where there will be a discount on one month of rent which is significant given the rent rates. I think this may be the best method for finding an apartment. However, it does require a significant time commitment.
Another thing I thought was interesting is that my apartment is rent controlled and the rent on it has almost doubled in 2 years. Which I think is insane. So, keep an eye out for rent controlled deals. Always ask the rental manager what the lowest rent they have is. Sometimes the rent for the same type of apartment in the same building will have drastically different rents.
I've been having a blast so far in DC. Hope to organize a mini-MMM meetup soon.